Laboratory Turnaround Time

A report of the National Insitute of Health from November 2007 states:

Quality can be defined as the ability of a product or service to satisfy the needs and expectations of the customer. Laboratories have traditionally restricted discussion of quality to technical or analytical quality, focusing on imprecision and inaccuracy goals.

Clinicians, however, are interested in service quality, which encompasses total test error (imprecision and inaccuracy), availability, cost, relevance and timeliness. Clinicians desire a rapid, reliable and efficient service delivered at low cost.

Of these characteristics, timeliness is perhaps the most important to the clinician, who may be prepared to sacrifice analytical quality for faster turnaround time. This preference drives much of the proliferation of point-of-care testing seen today.